Equestrianism: Selectors' firm stand on cruelty

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THE British riders selected for this year's European Three-Day Event Championships, to be held at Achselschwang, Germany, from 9 to 12 September, will not be allowed to compete at Burghley the previous weekend.

Bridget Parker, the chairman of the senior selection committee, sees the retention of Britain's European title as the primary objective for 1993. This aim could be jeopardised if a selected rider were injured at Burghley.

Parker, who was an Olympic team gold medallist in 1972, has taken over for a four-year period, which will include next year's World Equestrian Games in The Hague and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Three-day events in both the Netherlands and the United States are under threat from animal rights groups, who wish to see the sport curtailed or abolished. Though under less pressure in Britain, Parker's policy statement insists that 'cruelty, abuse and general welfare of the horse will be taken very seriously . . . The committee are particularly worried about horses being over-competed and running with too short an interval between three-day events.'

Ten of Britain's best young riders - among them Kristina Gifford, the 22-year-old daughter of the racehorse trainer, Josh Gifford - have been invited to take part in a senior training course at Stoneleigh from 1 to 3 March. Dressage training will be given by Christopher Bartle, and show jumping tuition by Stephen Hadley.

BRITISH SENIOR TRAINING COURSE (Stoneleigh, 1 to 3 March): Selected riders: N Burton, P Clapham, W Fox-Pitt, K Gifford, F Hooper, E-J Jones, G Law, L Law, P Lyon, P Muir.